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EducationNew YorkNews/OpinionRacism

Albany Student Admits Race Crime Was a Hoax

Alexis Briggs, one of three women who fabricated a crime in which they were allegedly beaten by ’20 white people’ because of the color of their own skin, finally admitted the entire ordeal was a hoax.

Briggs broke with her friends Asha Burwell and Ariel Agudio, accepting a plea deal in which she will engage in 100 hours of community service within the next 10 months.

To her credit, Briggs did a difficult thing in finally admitting they had made up a race crime which had the potential to break apart the community, something her cohorts have yet to do.

Via the Times Union:

Suspended University at Albany student Alexis Briggs tearfully apologized Tuesday while pleading guilty to her role in fabricating a story that she and two friends were victims of an alleged racial attack on a CDTA bus on Jan. 30.

“You knew it wasn’t true?” Albany County Judge Stephen Herrick asked Briggs, who was recently suspended from UAlbany for two years.

“Yes,” she answered.

Briggs had faced up to a year in jail if convicted of misdemeanor charges that included third-degree assault and falsely reporting an incident, but instead pleaded guilty to non-criminal disorderly conduct.

Burwell and Agudio both rejected their plea deals, a surprisingly stubborn move considering the mountain of evidence against them – Numerous camera angles viewed by officials, and over 30 witnesses interviewed – and the fact that they will now face jail time over their stories.

The two defiant women face charges that include misdemeanor assault, attempted assault, falsely reporting an incident and harassment, and will return to court in September.

It was a story that drove Black Lives Matter advocates and the local media into a tizzy – Three young black women allegedly assaulted by 10-12 white men and women on a CDTA bus, all the while being barraged with racial slurs.

It even received national coverage when leading Democrat presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, tweeted this message of support for the story and the girls involved:


We were among the first to report that the entire incident was a hoax.

On January 30th, one of the victims, Asha Burwell, tweeted about being “beaten because of the color of my skin.”


The incident sparked protests at the school.

Protesters, including members of the National Congress of Black Women and the Albany chapter of Black Lives Matter, showed signs of support for the women, demanding change in the form of hiring minority faculty and providing sensitivity training for University police.

Burwell and her fellow alleged ‘victims’ gave tearful speeches on campus.

SUNY Albany president Robert Jones, before having any of the facts straight and going solely on what he heard from Burwell and her companions, issued a statement saying he is “deeply concerned, saddened and angry about this incident.”

Within days, cell phone video of the incident made it’s way to social media. The video, along with other footage screened for local civil rights advocates, didn’t seem to support the women’s claims of racial slurs being thrown at them, and in fact showed that Agudio, Burwell, and Briggs instigated the entire incident.

Numerous other camera angles were viewed by officials, and over 30 witnesses were interviewed.

Audio of the 911 calls surfaced shortly thereafter, with one catching Agudio twice saying of the incident that “I think it’s so funny,” before adding she “beat up a boy.” As the call is transferred, Agudio’s tone changes almost immediately as she tries to tell the dispatcher that she and her friends “got jumped” in a “racially” motivated attack. Additionally, the girl who had seconds ago said she “beat up a boy” now claimed that “we were three black girls beaten up by 20 white people.”

Audio of yet another 911 call involved Agudio saying “I think it’s funny how I had three b**ches down.”

Despite mounting evidence that the three SUNY students had lied about the entire incident, their lawyers continued to insist that they were being “academically lynched” and claiming it would be unfair if they were kicked out of school.

Eventually, in late February, the women would be charged with their own crimes for not only fabricating the story, but for assaulting the same innocent students they would later claim were racist.

One of the true victims endured cervical sprain and/or bruising and an investigator called their story “false and baseless.”




Despite the gravity of their actions, actions that had the potential to start race riots in the city of Albany, the three women were still given a chance to atone for their crimes.

They were given the opportunity to accept a plea deal if they made a public apology to the students whose reputations could have been destroyed by their story. They refused, and the case moved to a grand jury which chose to indict them on elevated charges.

Whether it was their lawyers or their inner circle of friends that advised them not to take the plea deal, these women certainly did not get good outside advice.

It’s good to see Briggs has, albeit belatedly, accepted responsibility for her actions. Let’s hope she can now teach people after her experiences and start healing racial divisions instead of widening them.

Rusty Weiss

Rusty Weiss is a freelance journalist focusing on the conservative movement and its political agenda. He has been writing conservatively charged articles for several years in the upstate New York area, and his writings have appeared in the Daily Caller, American Thinker,, Big Government, the Times Union, and the Troy Record. He is also Editor of one of the top conservative blogs of 2012, the Mental Recession.

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